For students unsure about how to register to vote, Professor Inez McDermott, the Director of Project Pericles and Co-Director for the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership, encourages you to “just go to TurboVote (nec.turbovote.org). It’s simple, quick, easy.”
The deadline to register in NH is October 28th and TurboVote’s available anytime of day to both in-state and out-of-state voters, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, who can contact McDermott ([email protected]), NEC’s representative for the program, if they have any questions.
In particular, McDermott wants out-of-staters to know they have the right to vote here in Henniker. But if these students feel unsure of where they should vote, on Turbo Vote, a website that makes the voting process easier through access to materials and information, and allows voters to registration online, there is a series of questions that will help to determine what’s best and most convenient. Absentee ballots are an option to those who want to vote in their home state, but McDermott explained that it’s getting kind of late for some states where the deadlines may have passed.
“If the deadline has passed for your state it’s easy to vote in Henniker,” she said, explaining that all a voter requires on ballot day is a birth certificate, passport, or license and student ID (a list accessible on TurboVote). But McDermott said that even if you don’t have that, or forgot it, and you are already at the voting booths, all you need to do is tell the person at the desk your birthplace and the last four digits of your social security number and they’ll give you an affidavit to sign (a piece of paper which swears to your identity).
The general election date for NH is November 8th, but remembering this date is nothing to stress over because after signing up for TurboVote you will be sent text and email reminders of the upcoming election dates.
Provided through a non-profit organization, Democracy Works, Inc., TurboVote, as a partner of Project Pericles, is offering its services to all 30 of the campuses across the country committed to civic education and engagement under Project Pericles. This is how McDermott, as the representative for NEC, became involved with TurboVote.
She feels passionately about exercising your right to vote even in circumstances where there is some disappointment as to who the options are, like for those whose candidate is now out of the race.
McDermott, who’s a Professor of Art at NEC, has been with Project Pericles for four years. She smiled, explaining, “Art does have a role in civic engagement. I’ve always been interested in the way art can reflect the values of society and inspire change.”
For those who feel their vote doesn’t matter, McDermott wants to remind students of the Bush v. Gore election in 2000 when very few votes separated the two candidates. Some NH primaries have even been decided by less-than 1,000 votes. She recommends you consider what issues are important to you. The environment? Funding for higher education? Healthcare?
“One of the things you learn in being part of a Democracy is the art of compromise,” McDermott said. “You really need to look and see which candidate is most closely aligned with your values and the issues that most concern you. I’ve always been able to choose a candidate who’s most closely aligned with the policies I support.”
McDermott will be running NEC’s Voter Registration Drive on October 19thfrom 6:30pm-8:00 in the Simon Great Room, so she urged all students to mark that date on their calendar (or program it into their IPhone). NextGen Climate, an organization that acts to prevent climate disaster, and promotes prosperity for Americans through political action, will also be on campus that day assisting in the process with Project Pericles, and encouraging students to vote.
“The problem is that some students don’t understand that voting is free and easy,” she said. “Every single student here that’s a US citizen can vote in Henniker.”
Shuttles will be available on November 8th to take students to the polls, whether you access TurboVote or not.